Until recently, if you wanted a real data plan on a major carrier while using your cell phone, you were forced to purchase one of the monthly variety which could cost $35 per month and more with taxes and fees added in. Many people however don’t need to have access to data at all times. They can use texting and calling when in the car and then access wireless data when stationary at a coffee shop or even using their cable provider WiFi.
In fact, when stationary and on WiFi, many users can use iMessage, WhatsApp and VoIP calling – meaning they don’t need a wireless carrier at all.
The carriers know this of course and this is the reason they have been loath to offer a simple to access, temporary LTE plan which lets you upgrade your smartphone as needed. Not so for tablets.
T-Mobile has been shaking up things dramatically lately… The self-described uncarrier has reduced rates, changed the way carriers charge for devices by unbundling phones from long contracts, reduced international calling rates and more.
Now, however they may have made the most important change you aren’t aware of.
The company’s new Pay as You Go plan costs $3/month which allows you to keep your phone number on the network and also includes 30 minutes of talk or 30 text messages or any combination thereof. Each additional minute or text is just ten cents each for sending and receiving.
Again, if you have access to WiFi for the majority of the time, you just made your new monthly phone bill $3!
The magic happens when you find you do need LTE.
In such an instance, you pay just $5 for a daily pass and get 500 MB or $10 for a week and get 1GB.
Once again – $13 can get you a basic phone and text plan with a week of high-speed data!
This destroys the current model for LTE pricing where you are locked in to $30+ per month plans.
Let’s say you need the T-Mobile network even less often, you can simply pay just $2 a day for unlimited talk, text and 2G data or $3 a day for the same plan on a 4G network with the first 200MB at 4G speeds. Personally, I would try to avoid 2G unless you are really cash-strapped. Then again, you can try it for a day and see how it works out and then not use it again in the future if you are unhappy.
Once again, this is a big deal because until now, carriers held smartphone users hostage in many cases, charging them more for data than tablets because data-only plans weren’t available. Now however, for all those people who use their smartphones primarily at home and rarely for calling on a 4G network, they can truly have the best of all worlds.
Yes, this change in carrier pricing is a pretty big deal. It is ideal for people with limited funds or parents who don’t want to shell out big bucks for a family plan when they have young kids who they don’t want to spend a lot of money on.